SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
Christ Still Offers Healing Through His Church
Key Verse: Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” – Acts 3:6
There are wonderful lessons to be learned from this passage. See if you agree with these observations:
1. When Jesus is Lord, marvelous things occur during the ordinary circumstances of life. Peter and John were not looking for an opportunity to witness; they were simply going routinely to the temple to pray.
2. When Jesus is Lord, we “see” people we would not ordinarily see. The lame man was a fixture at the temple gate. They had failed to see him at other times. On this day they saw him, looked intently at him, and reached out to him. They saw him with new eyes, the eyes of Jesus who lived within them.
3. God is full of surprises. The lame man only wanted a few coins. Instead he received something much better – the healing of his feet and legs that had been useless since birth. He became so excited he forgot about the money and began praising God. He wanted a handout; he got new legs, legs so strong he could even jump up and down.
4. When Christians cooperate with God in the transformation of someone in need, people are amazed and God receives glory. Whenever we do what we can for hurting people, God often releases his power to heal and do what we cannot do in our own strength.
5. God is the healer; we are only channels of his healing power. To God be the glory! Peter and John refused to take any credit for the lame man’s healing. They gave the glory to Jesus, wisely declaring, “The faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.”
What are we to believe about healing as a ministry of the church today? Does God still heal the sick? He can and he does – sometimes. Does he wish for us to be as daring as Peter and John and pray for the healing of crippled persons? That is obviously not an easy question to answer.
I have known only a few individuals who claimed to possess “the gift of healing.” None of them boasted of being “healers” and always gave the glory to God when someone was healed in response to their prayers.
Sometimes I believe healing has occurred as earnest prayers were offered for the sick by me and others. When called upon I have not hesitated to call “the elders of the church” to join me in praying for the sick after anointing them with oil. I have learned not to put any limitations on God so I feel free to pray for the healing of sick persons.
Yet by and large I believe the healing ministry of the church needs a broader base. God wants to release his healing power through the church for greater needs than physical healing. There is so much brokenness in the world, so many hurting people who desperately need healing more for the soul than the body. The primary need of every person is salvation, not the healing of the body.
All around us are “lonely people” who need the healing they can find in a truly redemptive fellowship. Divorce and death have shattered the dreams of many who need the healing love of a caring church, a church that can restore hope and dignity. People wounded by abuse – adults and children – can find healing in a church that offers forgiveness, understanding love, and the hope of recovery.
Alfred Kalembo of
God uses Larry Cochran’s work on
the mission field as a channel for salvation – and healing. Larry’s agency, Go International, sends medical teams
and work teams into remote parts of the world to present Christ and offer
assistance “in his name,” as Peter and John did. Healing occurs when people are
saved and liberated from superstition, ignorance, and poverty. This small missions operation,
Christ surely calls upon his church today to offer the hurting people of our society, and our world, healing for the psyche, the spirit, the mind, the soul. Remember that new people do not come to our worship services for no reason or just to “check us out.” They come because they are looking for hope, help, and healing. They come because they are “sick” of sin and in need of healing.
What they are looking for is Jesus. When we can introduce them to Jesus, he can liberate them from “crippling” behavior, attitudes, and relationships. He can restore their hope, and give them the dignity of knowing that God loves them and that Jesus died for them. Our part in their healing is to love them “warts and all” until they begin to believe in the unconditional love of God. By the grace of God we can embrace a battered soul and help God restore that person to wholeness and joy.
When such healing occurs, and Jesus receives the glory, then the church has fulfilled God’s calling to offer his “Gift of Healing” to our broken world. The key is to believe, as Peter and John did, that there is power in the name of Jesus!
+ + + (Contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org)